Now, a Literary Moment...
Author Zora Neale Hurston was active in the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s and '30s, a time when black arts, culture and literature flourished. But while other writers celebrated the new identity of the educated Negro, Hurston was criticized for portraying the rural black folks she grew up with.
Novelist Alice Walker
Alice Walker: Hurston just threw all caution to the winds and said, 'Gee, I like these people. I like the way they sound. And if other people think that we're ignorant and backward because we sound this way they obviously don't know our history and why we sound this way. And I like the people themselves. So I'm going to present them in their complexity and completeness and their fullness and their richness and their contrariness.' And that's what you get.
In her 1937 novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston eloquently captured the sound of the common folk, their voices resonate still today.
This Literary Moment was created by the National Endowment for the Arts.
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